Nicole Fisher | MY father designed the Vanuatu coat of arms and co-designed the flag.

By Nicole Fisher

Happy 40 years Independence Vanuatu : 1980 – 2020.

The Identity of Vanuatu was the creation of a design of national symbols which would represent all the islands of Vanuatu.

My father (Rick Fraser) has participated actively in the evolution of modern designs for the National Coat of Arms, the Independence Medal, the Chair for the Speaker of Parliament and his re-design of the National Flag.

Just prior to the Independence, a flag competition was announced and so 200 entries were received.

Of these entries, several categories winners were chosen by Committee which was comprised of council of chiefs, three artists ( Michoutouchkine, Pilioko, Rick Fraser and several other committee members representing different levels of society.

The winner of the competition was a young man from the island of Emau.

At the same time, entries were also submitted to the Committee for the National Coat of Arms which was destined to become the National Emblem emblazoned on the flag and to be represented on the currency of the country.

Af the final review,the Committee including the Prime Minister ( late Father Walter Lini) requested a number of changes to the winning flag design in order to achieve full concensus.

Rick Fraser was asked to re-design the flag incorporating the “Y” shape through the middle of the flag, completely, re-designing the pig’s tusk and crossed namele leaves in gold, and also the proper full rectangle dimension of the flag ( the original design was two thirds of current size).

Rick explained the significance of various elements of the design for the National Coat of Arms.

The most important aspect of the design is that it represents the people of Vanuatu as being blessed upstanding.

The figure of a native chief from the island of Efate wearing a traditional mat costume is an example of the type of matting worn by chiefs at official functions and the bracelets and anklets he wears are made of shells and bods pointing to the affinity which the people have with the sea.

The hair is some what bouffant and the stone around his neck is from Tanna Island.

This was very significant to the Tannese people as they insist on being represented.

The stone was a form of currency and is still being used in a number of the Pacific Islands as a bartering item.

Rick also designed the Chair for the Speaker of Parliament, being the official gift from Australian Government to commemorate the Independence of Vanuatu.

Carved from mahogany, it stands 9 feet tall and took twelve months to complete. ( It estimated to be worth 15,000 dollars).

The Independence Medal is awarded to individuals who are to be honoured for their contribution to the society in Vanuatu.

Combining designs for National Coat of Arms, and the National Flag and the beautiful National Athem by Francois Vincent Ayssav.

This medal is Vanuatu’s most prestigious award and is a testimony to Rick Fraser, a creative designer of note.

In 2007 he was awarded: Order of Vanuatu Distinction.

Shalom from Manearu & Vinerikimori (Richard C & Leitangi M Fraser)